It was only a matter of time before Makoto Shinkai's Your Name was given the Hollywood live-action treatment. After all, the gorgeous film not only became the highest-grossing anime of all time, but it also deeply resonated with audiences around the world, particularly the Japanese teens who organized walking tours of the film's metropolitan locations and turned its catchy theme song, "Zen Zen Zense," into a sensation in the Tokyo clubs.
Paramount Pictures and Abrams's production company, Bad Robot, have reportedly won the rights to adapt the project, and Arrival's Oscar-nominated screenwriter Eric Heisserer has been tapped to pen the screenplay. (Those who have already seen Your Name probably know why Heisserer is the right fit for the job.)
Your Name follows two restless teens — Taki, a boy from downtown Tokyo, and Mitsuha, a girl from a rural town — whose lives are mysteriously entwined when they start swapping bodies on random days. Through a series of cellphone memos, hand-written messages, and missed calls, the two slowly fall in love. To tell you any more would ruin the fun.
While anime fans have a reason to be skeptical following the recent unsuccessful live-action remakes of Ghost in the Shell and Death Note, it should hopefully ease some fears knowing that Genki Kawamura, who produced the anime, will also serves as a producer on this film.
It's also unclear where the live-action film will be set. Shinkai himself has said that he made Your Name so that young Japanese people could "believe in their futures" — he was heavily influenced by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that ravaged Japan's north-east coast — but certain themes in the film are also universal, like young people's anxieties about adulthood and falling in love.
Plus, it helps that Abrams's vision already has Shinkai's enthusiastic approval. "Your Name is a film created with the innate imaginations of a Japanese team and put together in a domestic medium," he said in a statement obtained by Screen Daily. "When such a work is imbued with Hollywood filmmaking, we may see new possibilities that we had been completely unaware of — I am looking forward to the live-action film with excited anticipation."
We'll temper our enthusiasm until the cast is officially announced. Here's hoping it's not as overwhelming white as its predecessors.